Called the 'Steel Butterfly,' Imelda Marcos was the beautiful wife and confidante of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The Marcos regime (1965-86) was marked by notorious corruption, political repression and gross financial shenanigans, acts to which Imelda was almost certainly privy. The Marcoses were finally deposed in 1986 and fled to Hawaii, where Ferdinand died in 1989. Imelda Marcos later returned to the Philippines and, despite everything, was elected a legislative representative from her native district of Leyte. In 1998 -- after a second unsuccessful bid for the presidency -- she was arrested and charged with corruption and accused of illegally amassing a fortune of up to five billion dollars during her husband's regime, but her conviction was later overturned. In 2008 she was acquitted of longstanding charges of graft and hiding skimmed money in Swiss bank accounts. Her steady complaints of poverty in recent years were somewhat quieted in 2009 when the Philippine government returned roughly $300 million in jewels that had been seized in 1986. In 2010 she ran as a candidate for the Philippine Congress from the Ilocos Norte district -- a seat that had been vacated by her son, Ferdinand, Jr. -- and won. A 2012 report from The Philippine Star called her the "the second richest member of the House of Representatives," after boxer Manny Pacquiao.
Imelda Marcos was voted Miss Leyte in 1953. She married Marcos, then a Congressman, the next year… After the Marcos regime was overthrown in 1986, opposition forces found thousands of pairs of high-fashion shoes in Imelda’s closets; the shoes became a symbol of her life of luxury amid the poverty of most Filipinos.
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